Vote certified in Island County, Sundberg says he's ready to serve

Island County election workers finalized the vote tally for the 2011 General Election Tuesday, and no new votes were counted in the closest race on the South End.

R. Bruce Allen maintained his 27-vote advantage over Thomas Gill in the race for Position 4 on the Langley City Council.

Allen won with 52.9 percent of the vote, to Gill's 47 percent. Allen finished with 245 votes, while Gill collected 218.

In the other contested council race in Langley, Jim Sundberg beat Robin Adams 319 votes to 168. Sundberg had 65 percent of the vote, and Adams, 34 percent.

With the vote finalized, Sundberg is eligible to be sworn in immediately as the council's newest member, as he was elected to the seat held by an appointee, Councilwoman Fran Abel.

When that swearing-in will actually happen, however, is a bit uncertain.

Mayor Paul Samuelson said last week that Sundberg will not be given the oath of office until Dec. 19, at the council's last meeting of the year.

The city council's next meeting is Dec. 5.

Sundberg said he planned to be at both meetings, and said either day would be fine for him to assume his duties as councilman.

"It doesn't matter to me," Sundberg said Tuesday.

Sundberg has been attending council meetings regularly and said he was ready to vote on issues that may be on the next agenda — including the adoption of the city's 2012 budget — if he is installed Dec. 5.

"I'm prepared to cast an intelligent vote," he said.

Sundberg added that Abel was also ready to vote on next year's budget, given her involvement on the mayor's finance committee.

"She is even better prepared," he said, adding that he had a slight preference for Abel to remain on the council so she could vote on the budget "just because of her devotion to that task."

Sundberg has been gearing up for his role as an elected official and has been meeting with business leaders and others in recent weeks.

"I'm excited and looking forward to the new year and a lot of good activity," he said.

"There are positive stirrings in Langley in terms of possible new business start-ups. I've been working actively with the Main Street volunteers to reach out to the business community and actually improve my understanding of the wide range and number of businesses that Langley actually has," Sundberg said.

Sundberg's move to the council will leave a gap on the city's Planning Advisory Board, where he currently serves as chairman. He said he expected the PAB members to elect a new chairman from its ranks next month following his departure.

In other races, incumbent Langley Councilman Hal Seligson received 383 votes. He ran unopposed for Position 2.

Larry Kwarsick, the sole candidate for Langley mayor, finished with 363 votes.

In the race for Position 4 on the board for the South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District, Joel Gerlach won with 59.9 percent of the vote over Jean Streitler III, who had 40 percent.

Marilynn Abrahamson won, 304-97, in the race for Position 1 on the Freeland Water & Sewer District board against incumbent District Commissioner Jim Short. Abrahamson had 75 percent of the vote, Short had 24.

Louis Malzone also finished big in the battle for Position 3 on the board for the Freeland Water & Sewer District, with 76 percent of the vote over incumbent District Commissioner Nolen "Rocky" Knickerbocker, who had 23 percent. Malzone collected 305 votes, while Knickerbocker had 92.

A total of 29,170 ballots were counted in the November election.

County officials said voter turnout was 61 percent, which is typical for an odd-year election comprised of mostly local races.

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